Manuscript Digest – October-November 2021 – This complimentary e-digest, now published bi-monthly, covers significant acquisitions and sales, manuscripts lost and found, rare books and ephemera, document conservation, and more

In the News

On the Block: the Goldman Constitution
Robb Report, September 20, 2021
From the first printing of the US Constitution, only 11 copies survive. One is in private hands — and those hands are about to change. Dorothy Tapper Goldman’s copy is up for auction.

Yale: Vinland Map Is a Fake
Artnet News, October 4, 2021
In 1965 Yale unveiled the Vinland Map, the first map of the New World, proof the Vikings got to North America. The proof just went poof as Yale concluded … the map is a forgery.
• But a 14th-century monk wrote about “Markland.”

Remembering a Doyenne of Documents
New York Times, October 2, 2021
Detector of frauds, Exposer of forgeries. Pearl Tytell built a business investigating documents. Among her claims to fame: debunking a sham Anastasia. How she did it.

Marie Antoinette Redactions Revealed
Smithsonian Magazine, October 1, 2021
Modern technology has foiled the censor of Marie Antoinette’s love letters to a Swedish count. What was redacted is no surprise; it’s always the juicy bits. The big reveal is who redacted it.

Mexico’s Historic Manuscripts Recovered
Art Newspaper, September 24, 2021
For years historic documents disappeared from Mexico’s National Archives. Now the archives has recovered some of its treasures, including a 1521 letter by Hernán Cortés.

How Scholars Cracked the Philosopher’s Stone
The Conversation, October 12, 2021
The mysterious manuscript contained a cipher — and a recipe for the Philosopher’s Stone. But where was the key? Scholars puzzled until … A tale of alchemy, ciphers, and the elixir of life.

On Building a Collection
Columbia Metropolitan, September 2021
A University of South Carolina professor set out to build a collection of medieval manuscripts. What he achieved — and what it takes to bid against billionaires (and Harvard).

Ricky Jay’s Magical Collection Is Going, Going …
New York Times, October 19, 2021
The late magician amassed a deep collection on the art of deception. How deep? After the auction house left with its haul, “you can’t even tell it’s gone.” Was that Jay’s last illusion?
• Gone! See the auction results.

Spider-Man’s First Appearance Snares $3.6 Million
Hollywood Reporter, September 9, 2021
Not long ago a copy of Action Comics No. 1, introducing Superman, sold for a record $3.25 million. Well, Spider-Man’s debut just squashed the record. Super prices for super heroes!
• An autographed “Shoeless” Joe Jackson photo scores $1.47 million.

What Makes the Bay Psalm Book Worth So Much?
Book Riot, October 19, 2021
It was the first book printed in North America’s British colonies. Only 11 copies survive. But that isn’t what makes this typo-riddled text so valuable. The Bay Psalm Book has history.…

From Our Blog

2022 Maass Grant Application Window Is Open

As archives and repositories again open their doors, the Manuscript Society is about to open its window for 2022 Maass Research Grant applications. Our $5,000 grant supports research using original sources. Find out who can apply, what to submit, and how to make an application stand out.

Of Interest

Books on Books: A WaPo critic shares his picks of recent releases > Read

Geppi Gems: The Library of Congress shows a comics collection > Revel